Wow, how quickly 5 weeks can go by. It feels like just yesterday when the 8 of us were just meeting over a modified game of ice-breaker bingo. Although it was sad to realize that our last TRIP class ended, it's fascinating just to imagine how my peers, including myself, will apply this experience when we enter the adult world over the course of the next few years. Anyway, I’m not going to spend anymore time talking about the future, because I got a lot of data I need to analyze, ASAP.
With the symposium right around the corner, I am in the process of finalizing my presentation, which means I have to analyze the colossal amount of data I have collected over the past couple of weeks. I am studying the effects of artificial sweeteners, in specific sucralose found in Splenda, on the overall health of fruit flies. My questions about what I wanted to analyze has morphed over the last couple of research sessions, starting with obesity and ending with activity and metabolism. Next step? Finding out what my data means!
With the program coming to an end, I have spent a little time reflecting on the journey TRIP has taken me on for the better part of my summer. I started off with very minimal out-of-school lab experience; I didn’t even know what a micropipette was, let alone how to use it. But, as soon as the program began, I knew that this would be the place to help foster my passion for science. All the instructors, including the TAs, were there to help me and my peers around every corner. They didn’t just give me the answers to my questions, though; they made me think about how I could approach a solution, and if I was not on the right track, they would guide me there with little hints along the way. This taught me that not all the answers you are looking for are right in front of you, and that problem solving can be the key to unlocking those answers. All in all, I am very grateful for this program, as it has taught me how to become better at something I didn’t even know I enjoyed.
Hello again, it's Lataviya. So far TRIP has been absolutely wonderful especially since I have a strong interest in science. My time at TRIP taught me that mistakes can be turned into lessons especially in a laboratory or anything related to science, I learned that I like working with my hands, and that I hate feeling as if I am disorganized.
But anyway, after me and others did a practice experiment, I worked on my independent project. My project is focused on studying the effect of coffee on fruit flies. I wanted to figure out how different doses of coffee effects female fertility and activity of male flies. The reason why I ended up testing coffee was because I happen to drink coffee right before school starts so that I will decrease the chance of me falling asleep in class. Since I really care about my fertility rate and how coffee affects that I wanted to see if there was any type of negative or positive reaction from coffee in fertility. After doing 3 trials of the experiment I ended with having a decrease in fertility as I go up on dosage of coffee. To narrow it down, a few cups of coffee decreases your fertility rate (the number of embryos laid).
After this experiment, I kept track of how much coffee i consume, so now I won't drink coffee as much I did before. As much as I love coffee I would still have to care about my health especially if I care so much about my fertility rate.
Well we have reached the conclusion of our individual experimentation and I can confidently say that this lab experience has been one of the most informative experiences for me. Functioning in a lab goes far beyond the correct operation of micropipettes and weighing scales. To succeed in the lab, you have to manage a plethora of responsibilities through organization, time-management, discipline, focus, and clarity of mind. Especially in a lab setting, where quantities, biology, and chemistry are in play, mistakes cannot afford to be made. Before suiting up in a lab coat and goggles, I’ve learned that the planning of an experiment and proper development of ideas is 90% of the effort.
In truth, I should have approached my planning far more thoroughly than I did, expanding even more on my prior research and daily activities. Only through the effective guidance of my mentors and incessant notes/logs in my notebook did I manage to keep everything afloat till the end. But in professional research settings, in universities and institutions, planning and research are the most integral facets of research. This principle extends far beyond the life sciences. Research conducted in every field follows the notion that planning should never be underestimated. For a long time, I have trusted myself with organization and planning but this research experience has taught me that no amount of preparation is too much.
To conclude the weeks long discussion on my experiment, I have also learned that the outcomes of an experiment may not always perfectly align with your hypothesis. But that’s okay. After an experiment, the only thing that matters is that you have reached viable conclusions on a research question that you have decided to pursue. And I am far from disappointed with my results. For minds like mine, which feel inclined to try anything and everything impulsively, I now have the wisdom and experience to caution us to slow down and logically think things through. Despite partaking in science fairs for a number of years, I never had the chance to work with such knowledgeable mentors and aides like those I have had here at TRIP. Years of working in labs and living in the world of science have given them a new intuition and sixth sense about their disciplines and this knowledge is invaluable to the rising generation of scientists and academics.
Hey everyone, I can’t believe TRIP is already over. My experiences in this program really allowed me to grow as a student while also making my summer amazing. This program taught me to think through failure, self sufficiency and vital presentation skills. I highly recommend TRIP for anyone interested in science because it will increase your passion and show you life in the lab. I am grateful for this program and will miss working with everyone. As someone had said, time passes away, but sweet memories always stay.
In terms if my independent project, I got some interesting results. I debunked the anxiety theory as there was no trend. Also, Zantac decreased the amount of gut bacteria and changed the diversity. I was also surprised to see that the percent eclosion decreased. Perhaps the fact that Zantac inhibits Histamine 2 (which acts as a neurotransmitter) is responsible for the decrease in eclosion. However, there is one thing that is clear, there is more to this acid reducer than meets the eye.
Wow! What an incredible experience! I had so much fun during my time at the TRIP program and, honestly, I wish it would keep going! I made a lot of great friends that I know I will continue to talk to for years to come. This experience is one that I will remember for a lifetime.
As for my project, things are going well. I am almost done editing my slideshow and I’m ready to start practice presenting it. I’m a little nervous for the final symposium but not too much. My project yielded some interesting results, as it turned out that the constantly smoking flies were actually the least anxious. This makes sense since cigarettes are supposed to help you relax, but this still surprised me.
Hey guys! Hope you guys had a wonderful weekend and are enjoying your days off. I am really excited to see how my flies have fared against their higher dosage of head trauma when given painkillers to relieve stress on the brain. I bet you are wondering why I gave the flies’ head trauma and painkillers? Well I’m glad you asked!
My independent project is to test whether tylenol or excedrin will help with a concussion. The reason behind this experiment is because we’ve all had headaches before. As for me personally I take tylenol or excedrin depending on the pain level of the headache. So I figured with fruit flies being 70% percent genetically like humans, I wanted to test if given a concussion, would tylenol or excedrin work for them like it has worked for me on numerous occasions.
As for the internship itself I have no complaints whatsoever. I couldn’t have asked for a different internship. It’s fun and we are very interactive with one another. The support of not only the teachers, but my peers, and student helpers as well is outstanding, Not only that, but this internship combines my two favorite subjects both math and science where I can create and experiment things of my choice. It’s very fun and the people are more than friendly. Being involved in the internship was one of the most memorable things about my summer and I’m happy I could spend part of my summer within the TRIP community.
Hi again everyone!
We’re currently halfway through the TRIP program and I honestly cannot imagine a better summer without TRIP. I admit, the first few days of lecture were a bit of a struggle since there was so much to learn about the lab, but I wouldn’t change anything about my experience at TRIP. There are so many amazing people to learn from and to work with, it’s an incredible experience I recommend to everyone!
Since my last blog, we’ve already begun our independent projects. For my project, I’m studying the long term effects of Metformin on development and cognitive function. If I were reading that sentence two weeks ago, I would not have understood a word past “effects”, so I completely understand that it sounds very foreign. Metformin is a drug used for people with Type 2 diabetes and there are a few mixed studies regarding whether Metformin has an affect on memory. I plan on studying the movement of flies over time to see if increasing doses of Metformin can have an effect on cognitive function and development. So far I’ve set up my food vials with flies to study this week. I’m really excited to see how far they’ve come since I’ve last seen them. Fingers crossed they haven’t died!
So, we are more than halfway through TRIP...wow...and we had to establish our independent projects. Being decisive has always been a challenge for me. So, at one point in the brainstorming process, I ended up with a bunch of different ideas and directions I could take those ideas. However, after stressing about picking my project and after hashing out possible research ideas and talking with family and people at TRIP, I had finally decided. Below is a little intro and what I’m thinking I’ll do, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from TRIP: not everything works out and I’ll most likely have to go different routes and change my plans, but that’s O.K.
Chances are you have drank from a plastic water bottle, eaten food that came from a can, or witnessed a plastic container labeled as “BPA free.” But what exactly is BPA? It stands for Bisphenol A. and is an endocrine disruptor, which means it likes to mess with the hormones in our bodies. Hormones help regulate so many of our body’s functions like growth, mood, and fertility which makes BPA all the more interesting to investigate. Because most humans are exposed to BPA in their everyday lives, I wanted to test if BPA negatively affect growth and development, and if this could lead to issues with motility in larvae and adults and overall health. I plan to do a larvae locomotion assay to test how the BPA affects the young, and I plan to do a negative geotaxis assay to test adult flies to see effects on the old and motility. I will then do a microbiome assay to take a look into the gut bacteria to indicate overall health. I wanted to try to provide some type of remedy for the effects of BPA and I found I could possibly do that with Kimchi (a fermented Korean side dish)! I hypothesized that the use of probiotics, the “good bacteria" that is found in kimchi, could help remedy the effects of BPA since probiotics have been found to eat the BPA and cause it to come out of the body through feces! Sounds appetizing! So I will be testing kimchi and BPA on the flies and see what results I yield!
Life at TRIP has been great. I love that the other students and I have bonded more, I mean we’ve eaten food from a food truck in the pouring rain together. Everyone is constantly supportive of each other, and it really showed when we shared our ideas for our independent projects. I learn so many new concepts/techniques from TRIP’s wonderful director, instructors, TAs, and peers each class. This program has really helped drive my curiosity in science and I am so grateful I get to have this experience. Moving forward to the future classes I will have to be in charge of planning and conducting my own independent project, yikes, I'll admit I am lil nervous, a lil scared, but a LOT excited. :)
Hi again! These past few weeks have been filled with a lot of new experiences, both exciting and fulfilling. In gathering so much information about fruit flies and what I can learn from them, I’ve gained a lot of experience with carrying out various lab techniques, in addition to figuring out how to design my independent project. Attached are some pictures of me creating grape plates (used to analyze female fertility) as well as sorting flies based on gender. Both of these experiences were particularly engaging and very interesting to carry out. Before I continue on to the specifics of my project, I want to give a quick thanks to Dr. Purdy, Dr. Gardiner, and Ms. Pellegrin for guiding me through these experiences and providing me with the resources to carry out the learning process.
For a while now, I’ve become interested in the concept of superfoods, and how certain foods can become trends through advertising and the internet as a result of health benefit claims. I’m curious regarding the extent to which these foods actually benefit us, and I’m hoping to learn a little bit more about the science of superfoods through my independent project. I’ve selected two trending foods (quinoa and açaí berries), and I will be comparing the effects of these foods on the general well-being of the flies to a control group. I’ll be studying the mood and activity of the flies through a centrophobism assay, in which I’ll isolate the flies and examine their courage regarding whether or not they cross a threatening abyss (otherwise known as a 5 cm Petri dish). I’ll also be examining the diversity of their gut bacteria among the flies through an analysis of their microbiomes. Both of these assays are aimed to help me better understand both the internal and external effects of superfoods on activity, mood, and health, and I’m really excited to carry them out. Hopefully, once the project has concluded, I’ll have a better understanding of the extent to which superfoods benefit us. I can’t wait to update you later!
Wassup y’all in the TRIP community! Last time I blogged, I was just starting my preliminary screen, having been in the program for only a week. Now, week 4 is starting up (man, time really does fly by…) and I’m getting to work on my independent project. The whole screen and project planning process was absolutely delightful! I learned a lot about lab work, project design, and presentation. I have also been learning a lot of quite interesting stuff about science communication and comic drawing during the overlap class, and talking to the morning students is a lot of fun.
My independent project involves a drug that allegedly enhances cognition, memory, and alertness. I’m sure we’ve all seen advertisements at one point or another on the internet for some sort of “wonder drug” that promises to make you smarter, increase your memory, blah blah blah… Well Adrafinil, which is what I am using in my project, promises to do exactly that! It is actually closely related to another drug that is reported to have similar effects, Modafinil, which has actually been used quite widely in a manner similar to Adderall and Ritalin. Only, the thing is, neither Adrafinil nor Modafinil have ever been investigated in any long-term studies. I have heard several fellow high school students extol the virtues of these drugs, and that’s when I started wondering: can frequent use of Adrafinil (or Modafinil, which is actually a metabolite of Adrafinil) during development negatively affect memory in the future? This the question that I plan on answering by testing the memory of larvae and adults who use adrafinil or used it during development, and I will be using the larval and adult memory assays to do so. Check back when I have results!!